Faf du Plessis says the only plan the Chennai Super Kings’ bowlers make for AB de Villiers is to run him out.
Du Plessis began his IPL career in 2012, opening the batting for Chennai Super Kings. His team has remained the same over these years but his role in the batting lineup has changed quite often.
In IPL 2015 Du Plessis has often come in to bat in the middle and lower middle order depending on the start Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith have given the team.
He now often finds himself faced with the task of finishing the innings with a flourish in the final overs. This is a role the South African batsman is unfamiliar with but he is surely learning the tricks of the trade. Du Plessis’ finishing skills were on show at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium when he played a valuable unbeaten cameo of 33 off 18 balls coming in at No. 6.
In a chat with iplt20.com, Du Plessis expressed his desire to add this aspect into his game, along with his ambitions to become the best fielder in the world.
Defending 181 on this ground is not easy. We have seen 200 being chased down here.
Yes, the bowlers put in an amazing effort. I think the wicket was a little bit up and down and not the flattest wicket you generally get here. It was good to bat on but it was quite challenging if you were a new batsman at the crease. But I thought our bowlers bowled really well; they were full enough and maintained the accuracy.
You started out for CSK as an opening batsman. Now you’ve become a finisher. Quite a transition, that.
I wouldn’t mind going back up the order. But we have such an explosive opening pair now and they are doing a great job. I’ll just do whatever the captain and the coach tell me to do, but opening the batting is nice.
When your role changes within the team, are you told before the tournament itself what is expected off you?
My role is more of gelling the rest of the batting unit together. Last year I batted at No. 4. We have so many power-hitters and I am not necessarily one of them. I am a power-hitter when I am opening the batting but coming in at the latter stage and hitting is a different skill. I am not used to it but I am learning. My batting position is flexible in the team. If we lose wickets upfront, I go in at No. 4 and if we have a good opening partnership MS (Dhoni) goes in ahead of me.
An unbeaten 33 from 18 balls is a bit of power-hitting, one would think.
Ah, I am learning. It is a new thing for me and something that I want to improve on. My whole life I have batted higher up the order and it is good for my game that I have been given an opportunity to learn how to finish games.
That was something that CSK didn’t do particularly well in the last game against Rajasthan Royals. Was there a specific talk regarding that in the team?
We were pretty poor in that game. It showed us that you always need someone to make sure that the innings stays together. We have a very good batting lineup but you cannot just go hitting sixes every ball. On a day it might not come off and you’ll lose wickets. That’s where my role becomes even more important and that’s why I was disappointed with the way I got out – early in the innings getting caught on the boundary. You learn from that and today I applied myself a little better.
Not many days ago when MS Dhoni flicked the stumps off to run AB de Villiers out in a World Cup match, you were distraught. Today he did the same and you were celebrating with him.
Yes. In the bowlers’ meeting when forming a plan to get AB out, the plan is just to run him out.
Who is a better fielder among you, Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina?
We are all pretty good. I would like to think that I am the best (smiles). As a cricketer you always strive to be the best at something. And I want to be the best fielder in the world. That’s why I try to do things that are a little bit harder. I love taking difficult catches. I will never give up on a catch even if the ball is two meters away from me. I would still run and try to get it because I believe that I can get there.